The Final Link
Population Exhanges

by Stavros Zoulas

(“Kathimerini”, English edition, March 21, 2001)

Conflict in the environs of Tetovo is but the last link in the chain of the Yugoslavian drama. The crisis began with the war between the Serbs and the Croats, followed by the war in Bosnia, then Kosovo and now in the Former Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The common denominator in all these struggles is the attempt by all the states which made up former Yugoslavia to divide its territory, as happened in the wake of the dissolution of former empires...

The crisis in former Yugoslavia showed up the illusory nature of American theories favoring the formation of multiethnic and multicultural states in areas where national integration has not been completed. In these cases, stability can only be secured by ethnically homogeneous nation-states. Diplomatic solutions should have been implemented providing territorial arrangements and population exchanges, given that, in most cases, nationalities were intermingled.

This would, no doubt, have been a barbarous solution, but the only alternative path was war and ethnic cleansing. Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and, now, FYROM are proof of this. The West, however, prefers to maintain the shell of the principle of inviolability of internal borders, thus creating unstable states.


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